Disney’s Magic in Norway – Geiranger
This particular day of our vacation was so bazaar! Commodore Tom had made it clear – the ship’s arrival in Geiranger was NOT to be missed and strongly recommended we make our way to the ship’s upper-most deck at 5:30 am. Yes, 5:30 IN THE MORNING! On vacation! But we were completely swept up in the excitement and did indeed rise (certainly without one whit of shine), bundle up, and make our way up-top to see the famous Seven Sisters waterfall on one side and another waterfall named The Suitor across from them. If it had been sunny instead of raining, the view would have been absolutely breathtaking. Even in the rain, it was pretty darn amazing.
What we loved about crowding at the railing to see the ship make her way along the fjord toward Geiranger was the number of familiar Cast Members we saw – their excitement was contagious! As we approached the quaint and tiny town at the end of the fjord, the excitement built and so did the number of people on deck to watch the show. Finally, the ship actually spun around – seemingly in place – to be in the right spot for the floating dock to come out and meet her.
We were exhausted. Exciting excursions, early starts and late nights were taking their toll. Luckily, our excursion for this day in Geiranger was not until after lunch. While we normally are the family who does not slow down on vacation, we needed to be more rested for our Sky to Fjord bicycle adventure – I got some strange looks when I suggested a nap, but nobody disagreed that it would be a huge help. At about 7:00 am, we headed back to our cabin and promptly fell asleep. Three-and-a-half hours later, we were feeling much better and ready to get out there and discover what Geiranger was all about.
We met our group in Fathoms at 12:45 pm, bundled in layers. Our guide was waiting on the pier to lead us on a short walk to the bicycle tour headquarters where we would get our helmets, vests, and gloves. It was cold and misting, but we were genuinely excited about the adventure ahead of us. Once we’d received our gear, we boarded a bus for the trip up the mountain above the town. As we made our way along what felt like an endless series of switchbacks on the narrow roadway, our guide (I know, I should know his name, but I don’t) filled us in on the history of Geiranger – which happens to be such a popular vacation destination that the 250 year-round residents are nearly all employed in the tourism industry. During the short summer months, the population swells with seasonal workers and tourists.
Our guide was excellent and sprinkled his history lesson with safety information – if we see a bus coming as we’re bicycling down the mountain, we should stop well before any switchback as the bus will take up the entire road to make the turn. Hmmm- Good to know! We were also informed that due to the steep grade, our bicycles were equipped with hydraulic disc breaks rather than the usual ones. This was the first indication that this adventure might be
terrifying extra exciting!
We kept getting higher and soon, we were above the trees in a wide-open, completely frozen landscape. The snow walls along the roadside were incredibly tall! There was a frozen lake right next to the area where our bicycles were set out. Our first task was to find a bicycle the right size for each of us. This took a while – long enough for us to start getting very wet from the sleet that was falling.Then we were off. At first, in spite of riding into a stiff wind, I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with Raymond and Joseph. Megan was not far behind me. This lasted only a short time. I was shaken by the warning signs along the road about the steep grade – I rode very conservatively, breaking regularly to slow my speed on the slick roads. Especially after that first stop where I learned that Joseph had wrecked and would be sporting a bit of Norwegian road rash as a souvenir. Still he was thrilled about this excursion and later announced that is was the best and most fun vacation adventure we’d ever had. As we rode down that mountain, my attention was completely focused on two things – how hard I was shivering and how much I did not want to plummet to my death.
When we finally reached Geiranger, I felt elated (and traumatized) – Raymond, Megan and Joseph were waiting for me in the bicycle barn. We spent a few minutes in town looking around in some shops. We found the merchandise heavy on the cheesy souvenirs with “made in China” labels. We decided to wait until the next port to do our shopping. Soaked to the skin and still freezing, I left everyone else behind and ran the length of the floating dock all the way back to the ship, visions of a hot shower in my head.
Luckily, we managed some first aid for Joseph’s poor elbow (the worst of his injuries is under the Band-Aid) before we left our stateroom for the evening. We were back in Carioca’s for dinner which was the “Captain’s Gala” and very delicious. The show that night, The Magic of Light, featured a dance act that had been featured on Italia’s Got Talent called Evolution. Honestly, we were too tired to enjoy the show as much as we might have otherwise. The next day we would reach our final port, Bergen, for yet another big day of excitement and adventure. Stay tuned!
I was too nervous to even try to film with my GoPro as we rode, but I did manage to film some of our stops. You can see that video on YouTube here.
Links to the other parts of this trip report:
- Disney Cruising in Norway (an overview)
- Copenhagen – Part 1
- Copenhagen – Segway Tour
- Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens
- Sailing Away on the Disney Magic
- Disney’s Magic in Norway – At Sea Day
- Disney’s Magic in Norway – Hiking to Pulpit Rock
- Disney’s Magic in Norway – Alesund